The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Taxation should be voluntary

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 603 times Debate No: 66623
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




In a free and just society, a government derives it's legitimate powers from consent of the governed. Given that, consensual voluntary exchange of currency between the governed and the government evaluates consent comprehensively. Thus, governmental taxation should be voluntary, not as replacement of voting but as a validation of a vote.


Making taxes 'voluntary' after those taxes were democratically imposed, amounts to a 'do-over' that allows anyone to opt out.
Debate Round No. 1


By the words of the American Declaration of Independence, " Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" consent has been thought of as voting. What is consent? By Miriam-Webster's dictionary definition of consent is as a noun "permission for something to happen or agreement to do something" or as a verb "give permission for something to happen". Should voting alone be consent?

The purpose of government varies from Jefferson's idea that "government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens" to Rawl's veil of ignorance ""intended to situate the representatives of free and equal citizens fairly with respect to one another". Regardless of a person"s point of view a true measure of consent is if a person is willing to purchase the produce. In this case the product is government.

Recognizing that people working together for common goals and protection is essential. This cooperation should be voluntary in nature. Once coercion is added to this collective agreement then the goals are no longer common.
In majority rule democracy, magic happens at 51 percent agreement. This 51st percent becomes a target of those of power. Since this 51st percent holds such great power, it should be a society's smartest, and wisest. Moreover, this 51st percent is never thought to be either the smartest or the wisest of a society.

The forces on both sides of an issue will attempt to manipulate an issue to reach the magic 51 percent. By the time a compromise is reached, original supporters may not agree with the compromise, yet will continue support, for many reasons. Many supporters will state that something is better than nothing.

Currently, measuring support for laws is by polling, which is easily manipulated. A time tested way of measuring support is through an exchange of currency. If a person is willing to voluntarily exchange their property for a service then a person receives a benefit from that service. No person will voluntarily purchase a non-beneficial service.

The American federal government system uses a system of check and balances, yet a citizen's only input is their singular vote. With no validation of consent until an election, citizens should be able to withdraw consent at any time.

By making taxation voluntary a person can withdraw consent to a government in a way that government must respond. This would create a government that of the governed, not just a simple majority.


Government is 'of the people', and not 'of the persons'.
'People' is a collective noun as used in this context.

When the people decide to tax themselves, that doesn't mean that every person agreed to it, but that the 'people' did.

Each person who wants to be a part of the democratically organized nation has to agree to abide by the majority's decisions, or has the freedom to find somewhere else to live.

It's time we stopped pretending that we can have a useful government and still retain all the personal freedom of an anarchist.
Debate Round No. 2


People are simply a group of persons. A simple majority, the key to democracy, is the goal of every politician.
Using American political system as an example, in 2013, 47% of Americans are registered or lean democrat and 41% are registered or lean republican (Gallop). Considering the prior numbers, that leaves 12% of voters to decide elections. In most elections turnout is less than 60% of voters (Bipartisianpolicy). With 12% as true independents and a maximum of 60% turnout to vote, the "people" become 7%. How can such a small group be considered the "people"?

Very few people chooses citizenship, less than 13% of American citizens are foreign born, these are Americans by choice (Census). Most Americans citizens gained citizenship at birth.

The price to leave America is high. To legally leave, government approval is required in form of a passport. The fees to obtain then revoke a passport will cost around $2,500 (Forbes). (USA passport $135, revoke USA citizenship $2,350, addition compliance costs vary) (Travel.state)

Few have chosen to be American, and those that choose to leave are financially punished.

Lastly, the fear of anarchy, people will naturally form voluntary groups for many reasons. The key word is voluntary. As long as everyone understands that their membership and participation in the group is voluntary people will support the actions of the group. The best way to affirm membership in a group is financial contributions. Voluntary taxation would motivate government to respond all the people, not just a handful.


All that is interesting, but off point.

The fact is that taxation is something we voluntarily impose on ourselves because we recognize the need.

In that respect, in a democracy, all taxes are voluntary by the will of the people.

There has been a concerted effort over the last few decades to give people the impression that our govt is an entity that is somehow separate from ourselves, and that is totally wrong.

Our govt is us, and if you find that distasteful, your choices are to change how people vote, or go someplace else.

Debate Round No. 3


Any dictionary definition of voluntary will include acting in one"s own free will, any threat of penalty voids an act being of free will. The IRS webpage on "Penalties for late filing" , uses the term penalty many times, not one person interacts with the IRS by their own free will

Government affects every American, yet the only time government representatives face consequences is at a ballot box every few years. In the Gettysburg's Address, Lincoln referred to the American government as a "government of the people, by the people, for the people", which is exactly why taxation should not be at the tip of a bayonet. The people should be able to persuade others to fund the government. Especially, since the money will be spent on fine purposes, like pouring water on terrorists, bailing out failing companies, enabling a household with no workers to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, fund art projects, ineffective schooling of children, and many others.

As for changing the way people vote, from Bloomberg, "A record 49 percent of Americans live in a household where someone receives at least one type of government benefit, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And 63 percent of all federal spending this year will consist of checks written to individuals for which the government receives currently no services," with 49 percent receiving money from the government, these voters have zero financial motivation to change their vote. The next way to get them to change their vote is on morality, which, this debate is about.

In this week's news, the American government is facing a shut down, and our elected representatives are arguing small points of an $11,000,000,000,000 spending bill. None of the small points are if the American people are will to pay the cost.

In conclusion, the case for making taxation voluntary is strong. Voluntary taxation will strengthen the American republic by building a government that is responsive to all citizens, not just voters. This government will be of a free people forming voluntary organizations for the common good. Yet, the best part will be that only death will be inevitable, no longer taxes.

Thanks for considering this position,


Your argument seems to suggest that if you are in a democracy, but you don't agree with everything the group does, then it must not be a democracy is silly.

If you got married, would you expect to have it all go your way?

Any time you have a group acting as one, someone will have to compromise.

What a lovely word.
Too bad it's been turned into a curse by those who have no real understanding of what it means to live in a democratic society.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 1 year ago
Taxation is just another word for Stealing or Theft.
Thou Shalt Not Steal.
There are no such things as "Stealing laws" , "Theft laws" , "Tax laws" ,
"Tax crimes" , "people owing $ to tax collectors" , etc.
$ STOLEN FROM the taxpayers, etc. , BELONGS TO the taxpayers, etc.
It cannot be used to build roads, hospitals, buildings, armies, for disaster relief,
to defend against invaders, provide so-called "services" , repairing the infrastructure, etc.
All such activities are done by people, not the so-called "government" .
Ever see Obama fix a pothole?
Trying to justify Stealing by insisting that the thieves will use a little bit of the Stolen $ to provide wonderful services, goods, etc. , doesn't make sense.
The so-called "government" has never been an extension of the public will.
The meaning of the word "government" proves that.
Free people have no "government" .
"Elections" have been FAKES all along.
There haven't been, & won't be, any elections in which people can vote
AGAINST the politicians, & kick them out.
All the "elections" do is swap some crooks for other crooks.
Posted by Harold_Lloyd 1 year ago
""Taxation" is just another word for Theft or Stealing."

Why would anyone in a democracy say a silly thing like that.

Unless you have decided that the govt is no longer an extension of the public will, a tax is part of the agreement we enter into as a nation, to pay to get the protections and services that a govt can provide better and more cheaply than any individual.

Don't let anyone talk you into forgetting that.

And if you think that govt has lost it's way, then when enough people agree with you, one election will fix the problem.

Don't blame govt for the failures of the voters to maintain control.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
There are ways to make taxes completely voluntary while increasing tax revenue, which are proven to work. I won't get into that here with respect to the debators
Posted by Surrealism 1 year ago
That just creates a Prisoner's Dilemma scenario where everyone wants the benefits of public works, but no one wants to contribute the money required to produce those works. Game theory stipulates that everyone will realize that no matter what everyone else does, they will personally be better off by not paying taxes. Then we'll have no one to make laws, roads, hospitals, armies, etc.

@Vajrasattva-LeRoy Taxation is not theft. Taxation is an agreement between governments and citizens that as long as citizens pay some of their money and follow laws, that government will fight off invaders, build roads and hospitals, provide disaster relief and other public services. If by "free society", you mean a hunter-gatherer society, then sure. But personally, I enjoy the modern level of development made possible by governmental influence.
Posted by Vajrasattva-LeRoy 1 year ago
More Gibberish ...

"Taxation" is just another word for Theft or Stealing.
"Voluntary taxation' wouldn't work.

In a free society, there wouldn't be any "government" ,
no "government powers" would exist,
nobody would consent to be "governed" , etc.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
I agree
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bennett91 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's rebuttles were short and not really articulated. Pro used a lot of rhetoric which was unconvincing. But he put more effort into the debate so he gets conduct and source points.